Tuesday, 29 December 2015

HADES by Candice Fox

Hades (An Archer & Bennett Thriller)Hades by Candice Fox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A dark, compelling and original thriller that will have you spellbound from its atmospheric opening pages to its shocking climax. Hades is the debut of a stunning new talent in crime fiction.

Hades Archer, the man they call the Lord of the Underworld, surrounds himself with the things others leave behind. Their trash becomes the twisted sculptures that line his junkyard. The bodies they want disposed of become his problem for a fee. Then one night a man arrives on his doorstep, clutching a small bundle that he wants 'lost'. And Hades makes a decision that will change everything...

Twenty years later, homicide detective Frank Bennett feels like the luckiest man on the force when he meets his new partner, the dark and beautiful Eden Archer. But there's something strange about Eden and her brother, Eric. Something he can't quite put his finger on. When the two detectives are called to the scene of an attempted drowning, they find a traumatised victim telling a story that's hard to believe - until the divers start bringing up bodies.

Frank is now on the hunt for a very different kind of serial killer: one who offers the sick and dying hope at murderous cost. At first, his partner's sharp instincts come in handy. Soon, he's wondering if she's as dangerous as the man they hunt.

MY REVIEW: I thought this book had great potential that was never realised. It was very disjointed with all of the varying time changes and perspectives that seemed to occur without much structure. It all felt a bit familiar having seen the Dexter TV series — as others have noted. It was ok but I was glad to get to the rather abrupt ending. In my opinion, the story could have had more depth of character development and a slower, richer narrative arc to the climax. It will be interesting to see how this author develops. But this one doesn’t really inspire me to read the next in the series. All a bit superficial and done before.

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Monday, 21 December 2015


Everybody Is Wrong About GodEverybody Is Wrong About God by James A. Lindsay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A call to action to address people’s psychological and social motives for a belief in God, rather than debate the existence of God. With every argument for theism long since discredited, the result is that atheism has become little more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. Thus, engaging in interminable debate with religious believers about the existence of God has become exactly the wrong way for nonbelievers to try to deal with misguided—and often dangerous—belief in a higher power. The key, author James Lindsay argues, is to stop that particular conversation. He demonstrates that whenever people say they believe in “God,” they are really telling us that they have certain psychological and social needs that they do not know how to meet. Lindsay then provides more productive avenues of discussion and action. Once nonbelievers understand this simple point, and drop the very label of atheist, will they be able to change the way we all think about, talk about, and act upon the troublesome notion called “God.”

MY REVIEW: A refreshing book that explores the psychosocial needs that are met by a belief in a deity. The book assumes that the debate over God’s existence is over and that it is demonstrably false — a contentious assumption despite the assertion by the author that it is no longer worthy of any further discussion and could perhaps be seen as a somewhat arrogant assertion. However, if one is prepared to accept this starting point for the sake of argument, Lindsay provides a rich and complex analysis of the function that a belief in “God” (as opposed to God without scare quotes) serves in those who believe and what it would mean to construct a truly secular society where those same needs are met.

The book argues for a post-theistic society where atheism as a label is not needed because it is no longer defining itself in terms of theism. Apart from being a bit repetitive, Lindsay’s perspective is well articulated with respect for those who believe in “God” (notice the scare quotes) and the purpose it serves — although his communication is sometimes bordering on the aggressive (then again, this might be needed given the trenchant criticisms that fundamentalist Christians make about atheism and atheists).

The last part of the book is particularly useful as the author attempts a very general articulation of how the ‘… primary needs “God” exists to address relate\[d] to meaning making, control, and esteem, which manifest in terms of attribution, control, and sociality in various complicated and overlapping ways’ might be addressed in a post-theistic society. One group of individuals who really need to read this book (apart from atheists themselves) are those theists who persistently claim that atheists cannot live a full or ethical life.

In my view, this book is essential reading as it moves the debate beyond circular arguments about the existence of God and seriously deals with the way forward for a secular society that is not grounded in a belief in a supernatural god. It should provoke in-depth discussion by anyone who has any views about God, “God”, gods or none of these. Whether theist, atheist, or post-atheist, this is a significant read.

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

SAY YOU'RE SORRY by Michael Robotham

Say You're Sorry (Joe O'Loughlin #6)Say You're Sorry by Michael Robotham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: When pretty and popular teenagers Piper Hadley and Tash McBain disappear one Sunday morning, the investigation captivates a nation but the girls are never found. Three years later, during the worst blizzard in a century, a husband and wife are brutally killed in the farmhouse where Tash McBain once lived. A suspect is in custody, a troubled young man who can hear voices and claims that he saw a girl that night being chased by a snowman. Convinced that Piper or Tash might still be alive, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, persuade the police to re-open the investigation. But they are racing against time to save the girls from someone with an evil, calculating and twisted mind...

MY REVIEW: I really enjoyed this crime novel — especially the clinical psychologist character, Joe O’laughlin. The book is written from two perspectives — notes from one of the teenagers in captivity and the other from the clinical psychologist’s perspective — which, inevitably, converge at some point. The writing moves along at a good pace, is easy to read, with intriguing psychological dimensions. This is #6 in the Joseph O’Loughlin series and the first I have read. I’ll be reading the series from the beginning!

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